This is actually Part 5 (the last!) in a series on Model Home Staging, so please be sure to read my previous posts before jumping into this one:
Are you still there? Wow, that was a lot to digest! :) Ok, now for the stress-reduction techniques...
Consider using multiple rental companies (or purchasing the furniture)
If you are Staging more than 2 model units, AND you decide to rent your furniture versus purchase, you should definitely consider using more than one rental company.
I once Staged all 4 units in a condo conversion project, and at the time I had only one rental furniture supplier. Though I followed all my own advice about color palettes, style and room usage we were still very limited in terms of furniture choices (especially dining furniture) for a very small space. The rental company had only one extra-small dining table and one pub table that offered solutions for a small dining area. Thus we ended up repeating the pub table in 2 of the units, which I hated to do. If you find yourself struggling to make each unit different, look into a second rental company. For a job this big (more than 2 units) you can afford the second delivery fee and you should still make the minimums with each company. It will be worth it.
Another option is to purchase the furniture instead of renting it. This will solve the repeat furniture problem, but it may also mean a hassle in terms of storage and moving of the furniture.
Either way, give yourself some options.
I am all about efficiency. I never take more than 1 day to Stage a home. And I once Staged 3 units in one day for a modern loft building in Santa Monica (with a lot of help!). But I will admit that the time we had 4 units in one building, it took us 2 days. We Staged 2 per day and it worked out wonderfully (there were only 2 of us). But the only way I am able to be so efficient in my Staging is through organization and planning!
As I said in the last post, choosing a different color palette can help with organization. That's because as you "shop your inventory" you can put all the accessories for the red & black unit in one set of boxes, and the items for the green unit in another set.
1) Label each box with the unit number of the home it's for. Even if you would use the same types of accessories for kitchens and baths in all the units, make separate boxes for each unit and label them. This way, as you and your team load in, you will be able to tell without even opening them which boxes go to which unit.
2) Post your design board on the door of each unit. Now many of you may not create digital "design boards" for your Stagings, but I do one for every vacant job. On one 8.5"x11" page, I compile digital photos of my furniture and art selection for each main room in the home. They not only give my clients a clear picture of what they'll be getting, but they help me in my shopping/prep and Staging as well. Here's an example.
By taping this design board to the front door of the unit, the furniture delivery people can easily see which pieces go into which space. And it's a great visual cue for anyone working on the project to get a quick overview of the Staging plan.
3) Schedule deliveries so they don't all arrive at once.
If you've followed my advice about using multiple rental companies OR if you've purchased the furniture for your model rather than renting it, you may have several deliveries coming to the job site. Stagger the scheduling so that there's no competition for elevator space or parking and so you can focus on one delivery at a time, making sure things go where they need to go. You running around like a crazy person from room to room trying to remember which sofa goes in which unit is not going to help anyone (trust me, I've tried it!).
4) Hire help!
A good rule is to hire one person for each unit you're Staging. Brief them on the furniture layout and Staging plan as soon as they arrive,and put them in charge of making sure every box that's been pre-labeled for their unit gets into the space. They can also be responsible for staying in the unit while awaiting any deliveries. Let them unpack all the accessories and work on the kitchen and bathroom while they wait.
Trust me, you will be running around like a chicken with your head cut off regardless. It's great to have someone whose sole focus is fulfilling your vision for each space.
If you read my earlier post on things to watch out for when Staging a model home, you already know the many things that can go wrong on Staging day. Make sure AHEAD OF TIME that you have water and power in each of the units, that all towel bars and mirrors have been properly installed and that each unit is clean before you arrive. Put it in your contract and check back a couple of days prior to the Staging date to verify that everything is ready to go. Don't take their word for it! Get yourself or an assistant in the unit to confirm. You will have enough to worry about without these added stressors.
Ahhhhh, alas the end of the series. I hope you'll find the information helpful!
Annie Pinsker-Brown | Stage to Sell
Owner & Principal Designer
"We get you to SOLD so you can get on with your life!"
Stage to Sell is the premier West Los Angeles Home Staging Company.
Owner & Principal Designer Annie Pinsker-Brown is an ASP Home Stager, a member of IAHSP (International Association of Home Staging Professionals), an affiliate member of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors and a member of the Culver City and West LA Chambers of Commerce.
Annie has Staged LA homes for Bravo's hit show "Million Dollar Listing" and TLC's "Property Ladder." She has also been featured in recent articles on Home Staging in Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times, Costco Connection and Frontiers Magazine.
If you would like to see more of our Home Staging work, visit our website. There is an extensive gallery of before & after photos, as well as a list of our Staged properties currently on the market.